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The Boomer and the Gen-Zer: A trip of firsts

The Boomer and the Gen-Zer: A trip of firsts

Old Jan 9th, 2020, 06:19 AM
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Melnq8--Thank you. We were supposed to go last month but I had surprise surgery, so everything got pushed back. Dh has been to these places many times, but these are new for me. I use Trip Advisor and Rick Steve's websites for basic planning, but I haven't done much on this since DH is so familiar. Really the only planning I have done was to reserve a walking tour and then for restaurants since I am limited for eating this time (gallbladder surgery, ugh).
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 09:47 AM
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Don't know how I could miss your excellent, fascinating trip report, Mel! I only discovered it today. Wonderful pictures as always. I see you had your daily dose of sweets ;-) Lucky you!

mms - welcome to Dresden! It is quiet right now. I am afraid you will run into some closures of major sights - January is cleaning time
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 11:02 AM
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Mel, great report. Thank you. You brought so many memories of my trip to Inssbruck.
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 12:51 PM
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We arrived on a Sat and I did a load on Sunday but so were others. The laundry was in the basement with the other tenants. She took me down and showed me how to work it. Schell done in 106 minutes. We had a big drying rack upstairs. The dishwasher was so quiet and what is up with the fans? She had two that we used to blow on the clothes and for night noise. They were whisper quiet. I want that amazon vacuum. Now in Paris the dang guy below us came up and told me the fan was keeping him awake!

I never had room for cake. We split an apple strudel once. I did eat a whole champagne bottle of those celebration candies. I should have tucked a couple of those in the suitcase.

I keep showing your great pictures to my husband.
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 01:03 PM
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Ingo--Thank you Yes, I saw that there are some closures. That's ok, as I plan to be back! I am so disappointed that we had to cancel the trip last month as I was so looking forward to the Christmas markets, so I told DH that we have to go next year. I just plan to wander while he is in meetings on various days. I am good at keeping myself occupied, lol! He has one day free while we have the rental car, so that is when we will head to Leipzig.
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 01:18 PM
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Hi Ingo, nice to see you here!
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 01:45 PM
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Dec 24 - Innsbruck to Salzburg

While K put the finishing touches on her packing, I walked down to the corner bakery, surprised that the bakery was empty, and even more surprised to get a glimpse of the elusive snow covered mountains that surrounded us. I sent K a text asking her to come down to the bottom of the hill so she could see what I’d been trying to tell her about Innsbruck – that it’s surrounded by mountains.



Innsbruck

Innsbruck

After breakfast we tidied up the apartment, texted our host to tell her we were leaving and walked the 25 minutes to the station. Innsbruck looked entirely different than it had the previous night. The streets were deserted, all that remained of the Christmas Market were boarded up kiosks, many being loaded onto trailers to be taken away. Empty cardboard boxes were piled outside shop doors, the atmosphere no longer festive, but sad and forlorn. It seemed that Christmas was over in Innsbruck.




Once at the train station, I purchased an Einfach-Raus Ticket (€35). It’s similar to Germany’s Bayern ticket; a day ticket valid throughout Austria on local and regional trains after 9 am on weekdays, all day weekends, for 2-5 people (not valid on the transport network Vorarlberg).

Although one can reach Salzburg from Innsbruck in a couple of hours, I wanted to take the longer scenic route, which visibility providing would give K a nice taste of the Alps.

I’d chosen the 10:35 regional train towards Kufstein, as it would only involve one train change.

I didn’t realize I needed to sign our Einfach-Raus Ticket (although I knew to write our names on our German Bayern Tickets, and I saw the blank line on the Einfach-Raus but I wasn’t sure what it was for) which the conductor told me was a €100 per person fine. Yikes. She asked to see our passports, then moved on. Merry Christmas to us!

Not many people were on the train, which is always a good thing in my book; we pretty much had the carriage to ourselves. Once in Wörgl K picked up a not-very-good slice of pizza for her lunch, and we looked for our platform, #12, which turned out to be a bit of a walk from the station. The ride was smooth, the train very nice.

And then, sunshine, treating us to some pretty spectacular Alp views. We were both excited to see blue skies after so many days of rain and gloom. We passed through Zell am See, Kirchberg and Kitzbuhel…the views were gorgeous.



Train snap

Train snap


Right about then I received a text from Escape9876 who was chuffed to have snow in Mittenwald.

We arrived in Salzburg just before 3 pm and set out to find our Air BNB which was very near the rail station, but of course we walked out the wrong side – again.

So out came the GPS and the directions I’d been given by the owner Julia. We finally found it – as with all things, it made perfect sense once we knew where it was, but at the time it seemed very confusing. It was about a five minute walk from the station, literally around the corner - and get this...no hills!

Julia met us at the apartment and gave us a very detailed, but speedy run down on how to operate the appliances and all that Salzburg had to offer. This being Christmas Eve, I knew that shops in Salzburg would be closed when we arrived, so I’d made arrangements with Julia to pick up a few provisions for us. And boy had she – we were set!

Nice place this, compact, upscale, comfortable, exceptionally well equipped, centrally located, lots of nice touches, but too warm, even with the heat turned completely off ($583 for four nights), wonderful host.

We got settled, sat down with the beautiful plate of Christmas treats Julia had provided and watched the original Grinch on my phone – a long running Bill and Mel Christmas tradition.

Then followed a nice dinner of salad and pasta, Prosecco and mimosas, and wait for it…The Sound of Music on DVD (thoughtfully provided by Julia who told us that Austrians don’t watch it, it’s strictly an American thing). I hadn’t seen it in years and I don’t think K had ever seen the entire movie, so we both enjoyed it, inaccurate bits and all. It was entertaining and got us in the mood to explore Salzburg.

We considered going to a Christmas Eve church service – I’d found one at Franziskanerkirche at 10 pm and one at the Salzburg Cathedral at 11:30 pm, but it was rainy and dark, we were in an unfamiliar city, we were warm and cozy in the apartment….so we took a pass.

To be continued...
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 02:06 PM
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Glad you and your niece were finally able to see the mountain peaks. I had a similar experience traveling from Christchurch to Mount Cook last month, thinking we'll never know what the mountains look like with all the rain and low clouds; we eventually did.
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 02:37 PM
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Mittenwald had the snow? That close? We kept seeing cars with snow and wondered where. Did you have a top floor apartment? We did and we never turned the heat on except in the bathroom. I had the windows opened.

That was so sweet of her to buy you all that food. I was in a panic getting stuff for Christmas day but so many places were open and there was no need.

I am looking forward to Christmas day there. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. First place I ate them was there.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 03:23 AM
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Just tuning in. (Been busy enjoying DD being home from university). Your report is bringing back so many lovely memories. I will happily take your unwanted Christmas ornaments; this year our tree was woefully underdressed (trees for Viennese flats are smaller!) and we regret not purchasing more baubles from the markets.

".tomorrow was Sunday…this was Austria…grocery stores would be closed (although we did see an open grocery store in Old Town)."

This memory is one that I have happily...erased. Though, it isn't entirely uncommon to find an open grocer in the Alt Stadt, and especially during Christmas market season. Tourists need their Veltliner, after all!
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 03:54 AM
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fourfortravel, our landlord owned a big gas station and they are well stocked. I was expecting a ghost town in Garmisch but so many tourists that the restaurant options were many. Boxing day saw many more opened. We even saw a few shops open on Christmas night when we went walking,
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 06:14 AM
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Macross -

Evidently Mittenwald had snow, no idea how much.

Our apartment was on the third floor, there were more above us.

Just about every place we've stayed in Switzerland, Germany and Austria in the winter has been overheated. The first thing we do is turn off the radiator. We tried sleeping with the windows open in Salzburg, but it was just too noisy, so we started opening them in the evening, then closing them when we went to bed. Still got hot during the night though. There was a fan, so we used it during the night, which helped a bit.

I can't imagine staying in that particular apartment in the summer.

Nice to see you here fourfortravel - I didn't have much Gruner Veltliner this trip, I was on a Sekt kick.

Last edited by Melnq8; Jan 10th, 2020 at 06:18 AM.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 09:44 AM
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December 25 – Salzburg

When planning our itinerary, I’d discovered that many attractions in Salzburg were open on Christmas Day, so it seemed a good place to spend the holiday.

I’ve been through Salzburg a few times but this was my first actual visit; I’d warned K that there might be some bumps in the road.

We woke to more crummy weather. We donned our waterproofs, walked to the Hauptbahnhof and joined the queue at the Information Office to purchase a 48 hour Salzburg card (€34 each). From what I’d read, the Salzburg card seemed to be even better value than the Innsbruck Card, and I had a long list of attractions that it would cover.

We followed my phone GPS to Old Town and then simply looked up and followed our eyes to Hohensalzburg Fortress, which looms over Salzburg from atop the Festungsberg. Soon we were walking through the Christkindlmarkt at the Dom and Residenzplatz, which unlike Innsbruck and Munich, would remain open until December 26.


Salzburg Old Town

Christkindlmarkt at the Dom and Residenzplatz

Christkindlmarkt at the Dom and Residenzplatz

Christkindlmarkt at the Dom and Residenzplatz


Christkindlmarkt at the Dom and Residenzplatz

We took the one minute funicular ride up to the fortress, picked up an audio guide and proceeded to work our way through the fortress and exhibits. I found it very interesting; it vaguely reminded me of Gruyčres, Switzerland. The views from atop the towers were fantastic, even on a crap weather day.


View from Hohensalzburg Fortress

View from Hohensalzburg Fortress

View from Hohensalzburg Fortress

View from Hohensalzburg Fortress

The remnants of the now closed Advent market held in the inner courtyard and last night’s Christmas Eve dinner and concert were still evident, and there were plenty of people at the Fortress on this wet Christmas Day.

We had an excellent lunch in the Panorama Restaurant; spinach dumplings with a side salad for K (which I later heard her describe to her mom on the phone, “they were so good, they were so good!”), a fried Emmentaler cheese topped salad for me; and a fabulous new discovery for both of us, *Lillet Rose/Wild Berry, which K randomly ordered, not knowing what it was or how good it would be; after tasting it I wanted one myself, but I’d already ordered a glass of Grüner Veltliner. Oh well, next time. (€37)

*I had to Google Lillet Rose, which as it turns out is a wine based aperitif combined with fruit liqueurs.


Spinach dumplings, Hohensalzburg Fortress Panorama Restaurant

We eventually took the funicular back down and walked through Petersfriedhof (St. Peter's Cemetery, the oldest in Salzburg) surprised to recognize it from last night’s viewing of The Sound of Music.


Funicular

By now we were cold and felt like a couple of drowned rats, so we sought refuge in the Dom, busy with other like-minded tourists. What a spectacular church, we spent quite a bit of time here. A group of singers performed from the Dom’s steps, the surrounding crowd a sea of umbrellas.


Dom



We wandered, popped into a few churches, poked through the Christmas Market, wandered some more, and then spent entirely too much time trying to find the marionette museum; we followed the GPS in circles around the base of the fortress, unable to figure out what it was trying to tell us.

The miserable weather wasn’t deterring the tourists one iota, Salzburg was hopping; I was amazed at how many people were out and about on this soggy Christmas Day.

Frustrated, wet and cold, we popped into a cafe attached to a museum to warm up with hot chocolate; the café was busy with others doing the same.

I asked a waiter where we might find the marionette museum and was referred to Google (which is exactly what we’d been doing). I asked if it was located near the castle and was told that it was at the base of the funicular.

So we returned to the funicular – no marionette museum. We asked an employee, and lo’ and behold it was up at the fortress – we’d missed it. Because we’d already been up once with our Salzburg card, we weren’t able to go back up again. Oops. I had to wonder what else we might have missed.

On to Plan B, we set out to find Sound of Music World, which we located without much effort and rather enjoyed. It was a lot more interesting than I expected and quite the education.

Dinner found us at Imlauer, where I’d made a booking online prior to leaving home after discovering how many restaurants were closed on Christmas Day.

We each had a bowl of Kartoffelrahmsuppe (potato cream soup), shared a Buffalo mozzarella salad and shared an ice cream sundae for dessert (€35 with drinks).



On the way back to the apartment we popped into the Spar grocery store at the Hauptbahnhof; seemingly the only grocery store in Salzburg open on Christmas Day, and it was absolutely heaving with people.

It’d been another (very wet) 10-hour day.

To be continued...

Last edited by Melnq8; Jan 10th, 2020 at 09:56 AM.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 10:11 AM
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Still following along, Melnq8. Enjoy your experience in Salzburg.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 11:20 AM
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December 26 – Salzburg

I’d done my homework the previous night and learned that the Salzburg Zoo and the Untersberg were on the same train line, so we figured we’d try to do both today, regardless of what the weather gods had in mind.

I’d checked the weather forecast the day we arrived in Salzburg; rain was expected for the duration of our stay, so we put on our plastic, took the umbrella thoughtfully provided by our Air BNB and walked to the train station.

As we looked for bus #25, I saw a long queue for another bus, and knew immediately it was for #150 – the bus to Hallstatt. I’d visited Hallstatt for the first time last December and it left me feeling a bit ambivalent, so I hadn’t yet decided whether or not to make the long day trip there with K. But, seeing that long line (which filled two buses) sealed the deal; we’d give it a pass.

Thirty-five minutes after boarding the #25 bus (free with Salzburg card) we were at the Untersberg cable station. My understanding was that we’d reach the stop for the zoo first, so we’d planned on going there in the morning and to the Untersberg in the afternoon. I asked the bus driver and sure enough, we’d missed our stop.

The Untersberg is the northernmost massif of the Berchtesgaden Alps, a prominent spur straddling the border between Berchtesgaden, Germany and Salzburg, Austria (Wikipedia)

It’s also the mountain that appears in the opening and closing scenes of The Sound of Music, the fictitious escape route of the Trapp Family Singers, who actually left Austria by train. And, the Untersberg borders Germany, not Switzerland!

By now the sun was peeking out and that beautiful mountain was right before us just begging to be ascended, so we switched gears and joined the queue for the cable car. The fare for the Untersberg is €24, so it’s a very good deal with the Salzburg card.

We were last in line, the first cable car was full, but after a 10 minute wait we were on our way. As we rose up into the clouds my heart sank, maybe the top would be socked in. There were gasps as the car rumbled through the wheels on the tower, K looked at me with concern. THAT, I told her, was what I was trying to explain when we descended the Zugspitze. Then came chunks of ice falling onto the roof of the cable car, making a racket and causing more concern amongst the passengers, even unsettling me a tiny bit.

Ten minutes later we were at the top, very excited to step out of the car and see sunshine!


Untersberg

While most of our fellow passengers headed further up the hill, we took photos and then popped into the cozy Hochalm for hot chocolate, gluhwein and a shared slice of the best topfenstrudel I’ve ever had. I loved this place – only one other table was occupied.


Hochalm, Untersberg

Topfenstrudel, Hochalm, Untersberg

Then it was back outside to continue exploring; we walked to the overlooks, admired the incredible views and trudged through the snow. A woman asked me to take her photo tossing snow into the air, she was from Perth, Australia and had never seen snow. I lived in Perth for seven years so of course this led to a chat about where each other had/does live and many more snaps so we could get the perfect photo to show her friends back home.


Untersberg

Untersberg

Hochalm, Untersberg

Untersberg

Untersberg


We eventually tore ourselves away from the beautiful views and sunshine and took the cable car back down and boarded the waiting bus. Same bus driver. We asked her how many stops to the zoo – she said four. We counted eight. Fortunately, we were paying attention this time and didn’t miss the stop.

I have mixed feelings about zoos, but this one was exceptional – really well done. We spent over three hours here and covered every inch of the place. The exhibits were fantastic, K was very impressed and an excellent guide. We had a decent lunch in the self-service restaurant, spaghetti for K, grilled ham and cheese with fries for me, €15.


House mouse, Salzburg Zoo

Salzburg Zoo

Salzburg Zoo


Back on the bus we got off near Old Town and rushed to find the Franciscan Church for a 4 pm Advent concert showcasing two organs. We arrived 20 minutes late, but saw a good 30 minutes of the program, which was enjoyable.

On the way back to the apartment we popped into the Spar at the train station, absolutely heaving again. We picked up a salad and a few items for dinner.

It’d been a brilliant and dry day (that umbrella went unused)!

To be continued...
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 11:59 AM
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Fabulous to “travel” with you! Thanks.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 12:08 PM
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Happy to have you along martharap!
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 12:44 PM
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We also purchased the Salzburg Card and found it to be a very good deal (it was cheaper back then, though). The Stiegl beer brewery was also included and that was one of the highlights for me. Loved Untersberg, too! That mountain restaurant up there is really superb - cosy, rustic, yummy food

Keep it coming!
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 12:53 PM
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Ingo -

I loved Salzburg and want to return. Now I have an excuse - so Bill can visit the Stiegl brewery!
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 01:03 PM
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I'm green with envy and such a nice contrast to Australia's current terrible weather - fires in one part of the country and cyclones in the north.
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